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NBA Draft 2014: Lottery seeding and NBA Draft spots, expectation vs reality

This season will be the 30th year of the NBA Draft Lotto. The Utah Jazz have the fourth seed in the lottery. How well will they do?

I kinda like these odds
I kinda like these odds

Today the Utah Jazz defeated the Boston Celtics, and gained 'full control' of the 4th seed in the lotto draw. The information is here in full, or if you are lazy, you can just look below to see some of the details.


How well does the #4 seed actually do in the lottery? Well. In the last 29 seasons of the lotto we have a pretty interesting (hipped) distribution. How does it compare to the probabilities that the #4 holds (in a 30 team league)? Well . . . it's good and bad.


The #4 seed gets the #1 spot in the draft less than it should (a little more than half the time it should). On the other end of the spectrum, the #4 seed gets the #7 spot waaay more than they should, nearly 3x as frequently. So that's less than awesome.The awesome part is that the #4 seed gets the #2, #3, or #4 seed more frequently in reality than they should by the probabilities. Furthermore, they get the #5 seed (one spot down) less frequently than they should. So, it's bad on the extremes, but good in the middle. And, well, the #5 spot is the most frequent result (one spot down), it's not as bad as the #4 seed in the lotto going really low all the time.

The times where the #4 seed won the lotto, they picked David Robinson, Larry Johnson, and Anthony Davis. When the #4 lotto seed becomes the second pick in the draft, Danny Ferry, Mike Bibby, Stromile Swift, and Emeka Okafor were selected. As you can tell, there's some variation there.

Is it likely that the Jazz are going to get a HOFer from this draft? Probably not. The last five drafts had the #4 lotto seed get the #3, #6, #6, #1, and #5 picks. But the good news is that out of all of the previous NBA Drafts that included lottos (the last 29), the average lotto seed for the 1st pick of the draft is 4.3, and for the 2nd is 4.0.

That's not bad.